One of the most common problems when it comes to concrete surfaces are concrete cracks. Even if your concrete is poured extra carefully, it’s not a guarantee that it won’t eventually crack. Being in an area with mild climate helps, but you would still find concrete imperfections even in the most perfect weather condition because of other external factors. Cracks are common, and you have all the reason and right in the world for to be able to avoid it.
Throughout out years in the decorative concrete business, we’ve diagnosed all kinds of concrete problems. These are the most common causes of cracks in the concrete that we’ve encountered. Once you understand how these things happen, you can now plan out and figure out ways on how you’ll be able to minimize the occurrence of concrete cracks.
Problem #1: Substandard Construction
There are numerous ways to cause cracks on your concrete during the construction phase. There is a specific way and art on how to properly pour concrete. Once you get it wrong, you are welcoming the invasion of unsightly flaws and hairline cracks. Using concrete that has an excessive amount of water is the number on crack-maker. As the water dries up, the solid parts of the concrete mixture isn’t strong enough to fill the slab and small crack will begin to appear.
SOLUTION: The best and most effective way to prevent a crack from happening is by having a trusted and reputable concrete contractor to install the surface. Make sure that they will do everything in their power to prevent these cracks from happening during the curing and drying process. If in case you get a crack, a crack set mortar can be used to fill it. It’s extremely hard and is most commonly used in bridges and roads to minimize the risk of having cracks re-appear, so you can be sure that it would work on your driveway or patio.
Problem #2: Material Expansion
Another main reason for cracks is the slab expansion. In a hot weather, the concrete expands as the temperature rises. This causes a tremendous amount of stress on the concrete. As it expands, it pushes against and material or object in its path like walls and other nearby slabs. If it doesn’t have the ability to flex, the resulting force will cause the occurrence of cracks.
SOLUTION: an expansion joint is point of separation between two pieces of concrete. The entire depth is then filled with some kind of compressed material like tar, cellulose, foam or lumber. With whatever kind of compressible material, it will serve as a shock absorber that can give way when met with forcible expansion. This relieves the stress amount on the concrete and prevents cracks.
Concrete is known to withstand a considerable amount of weight exerted on its surface. But if you put an unbearable weight on the slab, it will crack. Concrete still has a load limit, despite its strong feature. However, a residential concrete surface is rarely crushed by excessive weight. What’s more likely is that excessive weight is too much for the ground underneath the concrete. This happens when the ground is soft and spongy. Residential owners who place large vehicles or dumpsters on their driveways is a main candidate for concrete cracking.
SOLUTION: There is literally no solution for this. The only fix is to avoid placing large cars and dumpsters on the concrete surface.